Ban Ki-moon endorses Olympic Truce

2008-07-30 03:15:38 GMT       2008-07-30 11:15:38 (Beijing Time)       China Daily

NEW YORK -- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined the General Assembly on Monday in calling on all peoples who are at war to observe the traditional two-week Olympic Truce.

"Let them lay down their weapons, if only temporarily, so that humanity can lay claim to gold even before the Games begin," he said in a message almost two weeks before the start of the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Such a truce, although limited in duration, could provide pause in which to reflect on the heavy cost of war, as well as an opening for a dialogue and a window through which to provide relief for suffering populations, he said.

"It can demonstrate to the world that peace is possible in even the most seemingly intractable situations if we truly work towards it," Ban added.

The International Olympic Committee renewed in 1992 the ancient Greek tradition by calling on all nations to observe an 'Olympic Truce' during the period the Olympic Games are held.

The 192-member General Assembly had urged countries in a resolution adopted last October to observe the Truce during the forthcoming XXIX Olympiad from Aug 8 to 24 and the Paralympic Games from Sept 6 to 17.

President of the Assembly Srgjan Kerim said, in a solemn appeal to observe the Truce: "the Olympic Games will bring together athletes from all parts of the world for the greatest of international sports events as a means to promote peace, mutual understanding and goodwill among nations and peoples - goals that are also part of the founding values of the United Nations."

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